With the doors at our Baltimore cafe now open, it feels like a good time to take a breath and reflect on the process. Our team at Ceremony has spent thousands of hours over the past year planning the space, training new baristas, and testing culinary concepts, all to bring Charm City denizens the cafe they deserve!
A key cog in opening 520 Park has been one of Ceremony's newest hires, the manager of our Baltimore café - Jared Cate. Let's get to know this fellow a little better.
MH Hi, Jared. It has been pretty cool to see the hard work you've put into the cafe. Were you just born this amazing? What's your story?
JC Being a military kid, I have lived in many places. If you go by where I was born: Stuttgart Germany. If you go by where my parents are from: Tampa, Florida. If you go by most recent home: Boulder, Colorado. If you go by longest time in a location: York, England. (Is that a long enough answer?)
MH Wow. You're quite the globe trekker. How did you get started with coffee?
JC In college, I started drinking espresso drinks at a local coffee shop, and quickly came to the realization that I couldn¹t afford them, so I got a job there for the employee discount.
MH That sounds strangely familiar! So you, like me, got in for the perks. What has kept you in the game?
JC There are two things that have kept me in coffee for this long: The opportunity to continue learning about amazing coffee by being around it all the time, and being able to be a part of a community - making a simple but significant difference in customers' days.
MH What a guy. We're on the same page again. Customer experience is number one. Going back to your first point though - what is your current favorite coffee and favorite coffee of all time?
JC I currently keep reaching for the Ethiopia Wazzala. The depth of flavor and complexity keeps it exciting every time. My favorite of all time is the first time I tried a naturally processed Ethiopian Harrar. While it may not be my current favorite, it's definitely one of the most memorable coffee experiences I have ever had.
MH I think many people, both in and out of coffee, would echo your sentiments about that naturally processed Ethiopian eureka moment. I experienced the same deal with a batch brew of Wondo in NYC! Ok, few more questions. What is your favorite coffee ritual?
JC I don¹t know if I have a favorite ritual. One of the things I love about the coffee world is that it is so diverse. You can have coffee in different ways all the time and not ever get stuck in a rut.
MH Great point! It really takes effort to make coffee brewing boring with how the seeds and the ideal parameters are constantly changing. Thanks for taking the time answer these questions, so we can get to know you a little better. What is something people might not know about you from meeting you in the cafe?
JC I have 5 kids! So far, they all like coffee, and my oldest boy is starting to learn to pull shots on our home espresso machine!
MH So if we run into staffing problems, we don't have far to look for new applicants! As a family-man and resident of Baltimore, what do you plan on bringing to your community's newest café?
JC I want to bring an eye opening coffee experience to the Mount Vernon neighborhood, and Baltimore in general; not only though the quality of the coffee, but through the quality of service as well. The coffee world can sometimes seem unapproachable to the uninitiated, so our goal is to portray specialty coffee in a way that isn¹t off-putting, and gets people at every level of coffee knowledge excited.
MH I couldn't agree more. Specialty coffee doesn't have to be scary or intimidating. Rather, as our bag says, "Coffee should be something special" and the right group of baristas can make that happen for the folks of Baltimore! We hope you, dear reader, can find a moment to check out our new spot at 520 Park, and please feel free to say hello to Jared! Until next time, happy brewing!